Add a "New to iNat" Species Discovery Counter to User Profiles

Something I have thought about, though I don’t know if it would be possible is to make some sort of counter that tracks how many species you’ve added to iNaturalist. Almost every day new species are added to iNat and I think it would be cool for you to know how many you’ve added or “discovered”. I know programming is hard so I don’t know if it could be implemented, but it is something I would very much like to see. This feature could also have a function so search in a specific place geographically, so users could see if they “discovered” a species in a specific region.

Doesn’t it say that when you go to your profile? The number next to your species bar (I think) tells you how many different species you have observed. I haven’t really paid much attention to how that number changes, ie. does it +1 when an observation of a new species gets to research grade, or something else?

What I mean is not when you find a new species that you haven’t seen before. The idea I have is when someone uploads something to iNat and they’re the first to see it on iNat a counter called “species discovered” or something similar will go up, it will also go back down if it the observation correlating to it changes species or something like that. It would just be cool to know how many species you have added to the site. So for example I recently uploaded an observation of Mallos niveus and it’d be cool to have some sort of display where I could see how many species I have added, and what they were.


what if the counter was always 0 and never moved up? how would you feel about that?

it might be cool if your proposed counter changed if you changed geography, too.

right now, if you open up a place and look at the species, i think there is a view there somewhere that shows who the first observer of each species was in that place. it’s not a count, but maybe that partially addresses what you’re looking for?


Geography would be good addition too it for sure. You may not be the first to see most species, but the first in an area is a definite possibility. I suppose a lot of users would probably have a 0, but I was thinking of this as a feature for users who have been around for some time, or are very particular about their species counts. I See this as a way to see what you have really contributed to inaturalist, because after all anyone can see, a dandelion, but to be the person to find the species first on iNat is kind of special right?


yes, people can be competitive and counters help people to compete. speaking of counters, i think it would be cool to see how many views your observations are getting.


That would be a nice feature it would be interesting to see for sure.

I seem to be making a trickle of these pretty regularly now and it would interesting to keep count. However, I think a distinction needs to be made between the first observation of a taxon and the first ID made of the taxon. For instance, I just posted an observation and ID’d it to a species of algae that hadn’t been on iNat before. But then I looked at nearby observations and found someone else had posted what was probably the same species years ago but had it ID’d as something else. In my case I feel that the person who’s been IDing my stuff (roman romanov) to species deserves far more accolades for it than me.


You could always have a panel showing who put it on inat in an observation first, and whoever saw one first in two columns or something to the like.

The term would be “iNat First” or “First iNat observation”

I think on the taxa page there is “most observations by” and “most identifications by”, and if you “view all observations” you can see who the first observer was, although you might need to reverse sort the list if it is longer than a page.

We have a “New Zealand Discoveries” project, for observations that are NZ First iNat observations. It’s a buzz to get an obs into that project, but I don’t think I would like a “count” of them as such.

Oh, and is it first observation uploaded, or earliest observation? As new members often go back through old photographs, and often from their “films days”, we often find earlier occurences turn up, so an “earliest obs” might not hold onto it’s title for long!


I think it would be good to have both a counter of who first added the species to iNat so people can get a real idea of what they’ve contributed. Something for earliest dated observation would be cool too though.

I would enjoy seeing how many species I have added to iNat.


some of the old place functionality does display who is the first observer within a place.
For instance, for :

that is ‘north america’, i don’t think there is a ‘world’ place

I’ve got a bunch but it speaks to me being one of the first people in the Northeast to use iNat more than anything. Obviously a bunch of them were ‘discovered’ on iNat by Ken-Ichi. i agree it would be fun to track those stats somewhere, maybe in a similar way to the life lists, though i am biased because i have a bunch :)


I was thinking of exactly the same feature from the Places page, Charlie.

Living in a ‘less common’ iNaturalist area has it disadvantages - fewer people able to help with identifications - but seeing my name included on several species as the “1st observer” is a nice perk to make up for it. Poking around nearby places and seeing who found what first can also be a fun way to spend the time when I’m stuck indoors.


if it makes you feel any better Vermont is now a very high volume user area per capita! Perhaps your area will soon be also.


right now I use a list for that, but I agree that it would be nice if there were an easier way to find them.

Ha ha, that would only work for species known to science and identified to species level. So much of what I contribute is undescribed, thus impossible to identify to species until such time as it is described, published, and recognized by iNat.


Well it would work once it was added then at least

I have mixed feelings about this. Here’s why -

I agree it would be cool to have some sort of a count of species added to iNat (either observations or IDs, or both). I too have made such additions once or twice, in both ways. And like @mcclarinj says, I’ve also uploaded a whole ton of undescribed species (and I’ve been the first to upload some of those). It would definitely feel good to have some kind of feature that indicates such first contributions.

However, I feel more concerned about the “what if it’s zero” point. I lead/work on projects that are constantly trying to recruit new users in my region, and many of them are non-biologists/non-naturalists who are generous enough to post whatever they see. This kind of a counter would very certainly put newcomers off (I have no doubt about it). And at the end of the day, I would be immensely more grateful to someone with a big observation count, and then a big species count, than someone with a big ‘new/first iNat additions’ count (in that order).

So while the new iNat additions counter is a nice idea, I would be extremely cautious about how prominent it looks. Ideally, I would like it to exist but be tucked away in a place that the user can access, but not display prominently.


When I asked for this I didn’t mean for it to be something that would pop up on leader boards or anything like that. Just something small either on your profile screen or observations screen so you can see what you have done. It definitely doesn’t need to be big and flashy.